Racers triumph over heat, altitude.
To get in shape for the 24th annual Up-the-Hill Races on 8 August, Barbara
Noziere did the sensible thing: she twice ran up the hill to the Mesa
Lab. And that was a good thing, because the visiting ACD scientist flew
in from Miami just four days before the race and struggled to acclimatize
to the mile-plus elevation of the Boulder area.
After her second training run on 6 August, "I had a headache
and my throat and lungs ached," Barbara recalls.
Nevertheless, Barbara scored a notable athletic feat by
finishing the race in 13 minutes flat, number two among the women. Barbara,
who participated in Up-the-Hill Races in the late 1990s while working
in the Advanced Study Program, says she owes her strong finish to veteran
runner Betty Valent (F&A), who set a steady pace and finished just 17
seconds behind her.
Fresh from sea level, Barbara Noziere finishes a strong
second. (Photos by Bob Henson.)
Julia Lee-Taylor, Barbara Noziere, and Betty Valent
lead the women's contingent in the foot race.
Barbara's run was one of several highlights of the annual
competition. The Employee Activities Committee moved the date from September
to August to accommodate F&A staffers, some of whom have missed the event
in the past because of the press of work they face at the end of each
fiscal year. (The first Up-the-Hill Races were also held in August; see
the sidebar below.)
As a result of the move, participants had to battle not
only the hill but also the summer heat (the mercury hovered about 90°F
during the contest). A couple of traditional winners skipped the event
because of commitments to other races during the weekendallowing
some former second-place winners to claim first place this year.
But the heat didn't bother MMM's Alan Hills. In the first
race of the afternoon, he took first place among the cyclists with a time
of 5:44, edging out HAO's Eirik Endeve by just one second. ATD's Christopher
Dyroll was third at 6:03.
Alan Hills finishes just ahead of Eirik Endeve.
Alan Hills whizzes toward the finish line,
followed closely by Eirik Endeve (seen briefly behind Alan in the video).
Only a few moments later, Cristoph Dyroff and Jonathan Emmett arrived.
It was a particularly sweet victory for Alan, who dominated
the race for much of the 1980s and 1990s but has since struggled with
injuries. This marked his 10th victory. "I was in one piece this year,"
he joked after the race. "I've been waiting for this 10th time, and it
took me six years."
Leading the women cyclists was RAP's Beth Chorbajian at
7:48, followed by RAP's Anne-Marie Tarrant at 8:22 and F&A's Vicki White
at 10:30. "It was hot," said Beth, who came in just one second behind
her second-place time last year. "I got kind of dehydrated, but it was
a fun ride." Although she cut down on her riding time over the past year,
she credited her first-place finish in part to feeling stronger after
going on a vegan diet.
Beth Chorbajian (shown here in a mini-peloton just
behind Arnaud Dumont and Alex Preiser)
leads the women's bike pack. She's followed by Anne-Marie Tarrant and
who throws caution to the winds by pulling two seconds ahead of Rick Anthes.
Next came the runners. SCD's John Tribbia won handily with
a time of 8:45, followed by two MMM staffers: Tony Vodacek (9:26) and
Carl Schmitt (9:32). John, a student assistant who runs cross country
at the University of Puget Sound in Washington, says he was unbothered
by the heat. "I just started going and never looked back," he said.
John Tribbia left the other runners in Tribbial pursuit.
Out in front in the men's road race
are John Tribbia, Tony Vodacek, Carl Schmitt, and José Garcia.
ACD's Julia Lee-Taylor, last year's second-place finisher,
took first place among the women with a time of 12:36, followed by Barbara
and Betty. Despite the heat, she said, "I thought it was a great race."
Julia Lee-Taylor stays just ahead of Dick Valent.
Last came the day's most colorful event: the relay race.
This year's theme was a birthday party, and each team had to use a Styrofoam
birthday cake for its baton. How to decorate the cakes? ACD decided to
use large models of molecules, while ATD installed batteries to create
Steve Massie shows off the ACD cake.
Let them carry cake: relayers dash toward the mesa
EO scored first with the judges in the cake-decorating
competition with a depiction of the mesa, populated by animals in party
hats. But it was CGD that actually took first place in the multipart formula
that determines the relay race winner. (The formula includes running time,
cake decoration, and percentage of division participation.) CGD director
Maurice Blackmon crossed the finish line first, holding a cake that portrayed
differing ways of ascending the mesa--including little runner and bicyclist
"We tried to get all the possible modes of transport in
there," explained CGD's Julie Caron. Noting that the cake also included
figures of mountain lions and other animals, she added, "We didn't
want to be speciesists. We were inclusive."
Three staffers participated in each of the events: Arnoud
Dumont (RAP), Tim Lim (ATD), and Niles Oien (RAP). After the relay, everyone
headed to the tree plaza for the post-race festivities.
Linda Dettling (NCAR Science Store) shows off one
of the many birthday cakes created for the race.
Above: John Firor
Top: The first Up-the-Hill bike race drew 5 women and 16 men.
Winners were Ben Domenico (now with Unidata) and Alice Lecinski
(HAO). Winners in the foot race were Rick Katz (ESIG) and Caryn
Wasserman. (File photo by Robert Bumpas.)
When John Firor (left)
found himself in a predicament 23 years ago, he never guessed that
a UCAR/NCAR tradition would result from it.
Firor, now a senior
research associate in ESIG, was NCAR's executive director in 1980
as the center embarked on plans for its 20th anniversary. "Various
people were urging that we invite a number of famous peoplesenators,
governors, and so onto give short talks about how great NCAR
was," John recalls.
He wasn't keen on the
idea. "Too often such invitees have to cancel on short notice, are
rather demanding of amenities before they accept, and probably would
talk about how great their county, state, and so on were, rather
than praise NCAR--which most of them probably had never heard of.
So, to get off the hook, I had to have an alternative.
"Having seen several
bikers and one runner going up the driveway that morning, it occurred
to me that races up the hill might be attractive to at least a few
of the staff. So I proposed such an event and got no objections
from any one." On a hot afternoon in late August 1980, 21 bicyclists
and 23 runners made their sweaty way up the mesa. The races were
a smash hitand a ritual was born.
John admits to "a certain
parental interest in something I started in desperation and which
has proven a success. I attend whenever I can and read the list
of winners when I can't." Bob Henson